Aggressive German merchandising and production empire EM.TV & Merchandising has confirmed that it has agreed with Bernie Ecclestone to acquire 100% of Speed Investment. The deal gives EM.TV a 50% stake in SLEC, the holding company which owns all Formula One motor racing activities.

EM.TV paid $712.5m in cash and a stock component of about 10 million shares, which will be placed on behalf of the vendors of Speed. The company said it may acquire further shares in Formula One within the next 12 months.

"This agreement certainly represents the single most important deal in our company's history," said EM.TV chairman Thomas Haffa. "Our know-how will help to exploit Formula One in the brand development segment and on the Internet," Haffa said.

Formula One sales are expected to grow by more than 25% annually in the next few years, and EM.TV CFO and deputy chairman Florian Haffa expects an EBITDA margin in excess of 50%. SLEC is also likely to be floated on the stock market in the medium term.